Thursday, May 13, 2021

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Bamidbar

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts on the parsha that R' Frand spoke about in his shiur tonight. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

Rabbi Frand noted that Sefer Bamidbar is also called Chumash HaPikidum which easily explains why in English it is referred to as the Book of Numbers. 

The first time that Moshe is told to count the Jews in the Parsha, he is told in Bamidbar (1:2) - שְׂא֗וּ אֶת־רֹאשׁ֙ כָּל־עֲדַ֣ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֖ם לְבֵ֣ית אֲבֹתָ֑ם בְּמִסְפַּ֣ר שֵׁמ֔וֹת כָּל־זָכָ֖ר לְגֻלְגְּלֹתָֽם - that he must take a head count.

R' Frand quoted the Rama M'Pano who interpreted לְגֻלְגְּלֹתָֽם as referring to the concept of Gilgul Neshamos - that Moshe was able to see how many gilgulim a person had lived and how many more his neshama would have to endure.

[R' Frand remarked that undoubtedly everyone in the room where he was giving the shiur in Baltimore had lived multiple gilgulim].

R' Frand then quoted the Chofetz Chaim who used a mashal to explain the pasuk in Tehillim (19:10)  מִשְׁפְּטֵֽי־יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱמֶ֑ת צָֽדְק֥וּ יַחְדָּֽו. His parable involved the neshama of a wealthy man who was arrogant and treated people terribly. After his death, his neshama made its way to Shamayim, but was instructed that it would have to return to Earth to repent for the horrible treatment of others. 

The neshama did not want to leave its closeness to the Heavenly Throne and protested bitterly, but there was no appeal. So the neshama begged to come back as a poor man so that he would not be arrogant again. After much begging, the request was granted and the neshama came back in a poor man and everything he touched "turned to mud." Everyone who observed what occurred to the man could not believe his misfortune. But the Chofetz Chaim explained that this is the meaning of  צָֽדְק֥וּ יַחְדָּֽו - that in combining the two lives of the neshama could atone.

R' Frand then quoted the Rama M'Pano in discussing the famous story in the Gemara in Gittin about the children of R' Yishmael Kohain Gadol who had been taken captive and sold as slaves. Their respective owners saw each as beautiful and wanted them to breed, not knowing they were brother and sister. They were placed in a dark room and each stayed in their own corner and did not approach the other. In the morning they realized who they were and they embraced and cried until they both died.

The Rama M'Pano explained that the two siblings were the gilgulim of Amnon and Tamar and the events which took place in that room were their atonement for their prior lives.

R' Frand closed the vort by stating that sometimes events take place which seem tragic to us, but they could be an atonement for the person as a gilgul from a prior lifetime.

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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Motzei Shabbos Thoughts on the Parsha - Parshios Behar -Bechukosai

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts on the parsha that R' Frand spoke about in his shiur on Thursday Night, but due to a family simcha I had on Thursday Night I did not have an opportunity to hear the shiur until right before Shabbos and I am blogging it tonight. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

Rabbi Frand quoted the Chinuch to explain the concept of avadim going free with the blowing of the Shofar in Yovel. The Chinuch says that the Shofar is blown so that everyone sees that they are all in the same boat - all the avadim are going free and this gives strength to everyone. He then uses the expression "tzaras rabim chatzi nechama" - when everyone is suffering, the person feels some nechama.

R' Frand then quoted the Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim who asks why does the rotzeach go free with the death of the Kohain Gadol? He answers that the Kohain Gadol - the chief spiritual officer of the Jewish people is loved by all. So when the Go'el HaDam feels bad when he sees that the rotzeach is going free he realizes that everyone is crying and he does not feel as bad.

R' Frand said that the Imrei Emes was troubled by this concept of "tzaras rabim chatzi nechama." He opines that it does not reflect well on human nature  that we feel better when we see others are suffering.

R' Frand suggested that this would be a good Shabbos table topic, but he also suggested a way of understanding which my daughter Y came up with at our Shabbos table.

When a person has something happen to him, he can feel why did this happen to me? Whether its a personal issue or financial or health, he can ask why me? But when it happens to others, he realizes that its not just me. Hashem has decided that this is occurring and it is not specific to him.

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Sunday, May 2, 2021

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Irish Coffee Cream


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at the last of the new beers in the 2021 Saranac Irish Roots box - Saranac Brewery's Irish Coffee Cream.

This spring's Irish Roots mix box includes old standard Irish Red (reviewed here - https://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/02/sunday-night-suds-saranac-irish-red.html), the Always Hazy Peach IPA (reviewed here -https://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2021/02/sunday-night-suds-saranac-always-hazy.html) as well as Irish Golden Pils (reviewed here - http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2021/04/sunday-night-suds-saranac-irish-golden.html) and the Irish Coffee Cream.

The good folks at Saranac tout this beer as a combination of a Cream Stout with cold brew coffee and Irish Cream. While I seriously doubt that there is any Bailey's in this beer (especially since Bailey's is not kosher), this beer was a delicious combination of flavors. The initial pour yielded a light brown beer with nice foam and strong coffee aroma. However, this was not a stout by any means and you would not confuse this with a Guinness, despite the claimed 5.8% abv. As there are three bottles of this in the mix box, I tried this cold, slightly cold and room temperature. Unlike most beers, this was actually more enjoyable at room temperature and the Cream Stout aspect of the beer became more prominent. I would recommend having this beer after dinner (the newest KB did not enjoy this with his Shabbos meal) as its meant to be sipped.

The Irish Coffee Cream is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit as is every other beer produced at the Matt Brewery plant in Utica, NY. Keep in mind, Saranac brews some varieties off site, so check the cans/bottles for kosher certification from the Va'ad of Detroit.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the brew, click you can search on  https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/529285/

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Lastly, if you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Emor

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts on the parsha that R' Frand spoke about in his shiur tonight. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Vayikra 21:12 the Torah states וּמִן־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ֙ לֹ֣א יֵצֵ֔א - that the Kohain Gadol should not leave the Beis HaMikdash. R' Frand quoted the Rambam in Hilchos Klei HaMikdash who writes that the Kohain Gadol had a room in the Beis HaMikdash which was established for his honor and glory as he would stay in the Bais HaMikdash for up to 20 hours at a time. Furthermore, even when he was not in the Bais HaMikdash, he was required to live in Jerusalem.

R' Frand quoted R' Chaim Shmulevitz who connected this with the story of Shimi Ben Gera. When Dovid HaMelech was about to die, he instructed Shlomo on how to "take care" of Shimi for cursing him. The instruction was not to simply kill him, but use your wisdom to do so. Implementing his father's instruction, Shlomo instructed Shimi to build a house in Jerusalem, but you cannot leave it. And on the day that you leave it and pass Nachal Kidron, you will be killed as one who rebels against the king. Shimi swore that he would obey.

Shimi stayed in Jerusalem for three years, but then when his slaves ran away, Shimi chased after them and left Jerusalem. The word got back to Shlomo and he reminded Shimi of his swear and then had him executed. 

The question that R' Chaim asked was - there are many people who live in Jerusalem today who have never left. Its one of the nicest places in the world to live, so why did he leave? Couldn't he have sent someone else to chase down the slaves?

R' Chaim answered that people can stay in one place, as long as they are not required to stay. But if a person is instructed that he can't leave, then he is itching to go.

R' Frand quoted R' Shimshon Pincus who asked - why does the Kohain Gadol not have this problem? Why is he also not itching to leave? He answered that the Kohain Gadol is given this instruction as a badge of honor and the room in the Beis HaMikdash is a sign of prestige.

R' Frand compared this (l'havdil) to the President of the United States. He can't go shopping at Walmart if he wants to get out - he can send the Secret Service to get things for him.

If a person is required to stay because of his honored role, he does not fight it. But if he feels its a burden then he wants to leave.

R' Frand said that there is a take home lesson for us as parents. We give our children rules and they always ask - why am I different? The answer needs to be - because you are special and you have different rules.

R' Frand quoted R' Weinberg who told the story about how the Kohain's son was told he could not play ball with his friends when they were playing on a field next door to a graveyard. But why? Because the ball may wind up in the cemetery and you can't get it. You are special.

If we can convince our children that they are special, they won't feel restricted when told that they cannot do something.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshios Acharei Mos-Kedoshim

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts on the parshios that R' Frand spoke about in his shiur tonight. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Vayikra 19:17, the Torah states - לֹֽא־תִשְׂנָ֥א אֶת־אָחִ֖יךָ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ. R' Frand gave an interesting take on the rationale for this mitzva, based on the sefer Milchamos Yehuda, which explained that its instructing you not to hate another because of your sensitive heart.

R' Frand gave an example of someone whose heart feels close to Hashem and it bothers him when he sees someone acting inappropriately towards Hashem. He painted a picture of someone who comes to davening early and dressed in proper attire and he sees someone walk into shul wearing shorts and a tee shirt and baseball cap. He thinks to himself - would this person walk into Court or a business meeting this way?

The limud from the Milchamos Yehuda is that just because you have an elevated level of serving Hashem, dont hate another for not being on your level.

R' Frand tied this into to a pasuk in Divrei HaYamim which states that Hashem seeks and wants all hearts and He understands all people. So don't hate a person who is not on your high level, because Hashem understands all.

R' Frand also tied this into the ma'amar chazal - Havey Dan Es Kol Ha'Adam L'Kaf Zechus - judge all of the person (not every person) to the benefit of the doubt. Because you need to see the whole picture.

R' Frand then told a story about the Chofetz Chayim who was once at an inn where he had a meal. While he was there, another Jew came in and ordered a meal in a gruff manner and looking quite rough around the edges. After he continued to behave in this manner, the Chofetz Chayim was approached by the innkeeper who explained that the man had been conscripted into the Russian army as a small child and this was the result. Many Jews who went through this process converted out, but he had stayed Jewish, albeit with certain rough edges. Armed with this knowledge, the Chofetz Chaim went over to the man and told him that he envied his Olam Haba. Over time the man became close with the Chofetz Chaim and was chozer b'tseshuva.

R' Frand told a more recent story involving a boy who was found smoking in the Ponovich Yeshiva on Shabbos. When they came to R' Shach to ask him to throw the boy out, he asked - do you know his chavrusa, or who his parents are? There must be something going on.

R' Frand then connected this with R' Akiva whose well known statement was V'Ahavta L'Reacha Camocha. R' Frand noted that R' Akiva had the incredible ability to see the good in every sitiuation and perhaps this allowed him to see the good in other people. R' Frand quoted the Gemara in Berachos where R' Akiva could not get a room at the inn and he was forced to go into the field for the night with his candle, chicken and donkey and after losing each item he said Gam Zu L'Tova and he later learned that he had survived a tragedy because of this.

R' Frand tied it into the Gemara which discusses how R' Akiva laughed when he saw the fox leaving the ruin of the Beis Hamikdash - again based on his ability to see the positive in each situation.

R' Frand next quoted R' Yosher Ber Soloveitchik who explained the last mishna in Yoma wherein R' Akiva said Ashreichem Lifnei M'i Atem M'taharim and M'i Mitaher Eschem. R' Akiva had seen what a true Yom Kippur was, complete with the Avodah of the Kohain Gadol on Yom Kippur and he also saw the post Churban Yom Kippur. By saying the Ashreichem, he was telling the Jews - you dont need a Beis HaMikdash to get tahara - because Hashem will be M'taher you Himself.

R' Frand said that this comes from the essence of R' Akiva - he saw 24,000 of his students die, but he did not give up. He took five students and they restarted the learning of the Torah, because he always saw the good and could see the good in every person.

R' Frand quoted the R' Gershom on Bava Basra 12b who said that there was never a person like R' Akiva. R' Frand said that was because R' Akiva always saw the good and could love every single Jew.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Irish Golden Pils


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac Brewery's Irish Golden Pils.

This beer is one of three new beers in Saranac's spring Irish Roots mix box, which includes old standard Irish Red (reviewed here - https://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/02/sunday-night-suds-saranac-irish-red.html), the Always Hazy Peach IPA (reviewed here -https://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2021/02/sunday-night-suds-saranac-always-hazy.html) as well as Irish Coffee Cream and the Irish Golden Pils.

This beer is a typical pilsner, albeit with Saranac's trademark great carbonation. The beer does not have any noticeable hop bite, nor is there any citrus. There is the usual expected breadiness/malt and as pilsners go, the beer does not taste as weak as a macrobrew. The beer claims to be 5.1% abv, but I can't say that the alcohol content was present, but still was not a lite beer by any means.

The Irish Golden Pils is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit as is every other beer produced at the Matt Brewery plant in Utica, NY. Keep in mind, Saranac brews some varieties off site, so check the cans/bottles for kosher certification from the Va'ad of Detroit.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the brew, click you can search on  https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/529646/

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Lastly, if you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!